What I Would Do
The page was from an outside line, just a phone number, no name. I was working the night shift. Perhaps it was my attending, a famed cardiologist who struggled with the online paging system.
I flipped through my sign-out pages. My eyes fell upon a scratched-out name, an elderly gentleman with a non ST-elevation MI who left against medical advice earlier that day. His daughter had called the phone number on his discharge paperwork and her call had been routed to the intern pager—me.
A woman’s tentative voice answered.
I cleared my throat. “Hi, this is Dr. Zhang.”
“Oh, doctor, I’m so glad you called back. My father was discharged today. Since he got home, he’s been so sleepy and weak. Is this his heart?”
I scanned his history and physical. He had hypertension, diabetes, tobacco use, kidney disease, at least one stroke. He had been admitted for crushing substernal chest pain. It was neither his first episode of angina, nor his first discharge against medical advice.